Lan is an ECan councillor first elected in 2016 when she was the highest polling and youngest candidate elected to Environment Canterbury, after campaigning from her post (running the biodiversity and science contracts for DOC, Metservice, GNS Science etc) on Raoul Island in the Kermadecs. At a national level, across local government, Lan gained the fourth-highest number of votes of any local body candidate in New Zealand.

“I was born and raised in Wellington from a big tribe of 6 kids in 1986. I grew up in a bit of a lovely bubble, truly believing that the world was this wonderful, sane, place where wise older people looked at evidence and made smart decisions for the good of people and the planet. Needless to say, I was clearly in need of a wake up call…

After school I went on to complete my Bachelor of Science in Ecology from Massey in Palmerston North. After graduating, I moved south to Dunedin to do a course called Conservation Corps which was everything from chain-sawing to four wheel driving to banding psychotic yellow eyed penguins. Through that course my interest was caught by the wonders of our native freshwater fish and I started working for the Department of Conservation as a Freshwater Ranger. I soon got sick of working for a government department however, where it was essentially my job to smile sweetly while watching native fish populations go extinct and so I returned to university to do my Masters at Otago specialising in Freshwater Ecology. It was over this time when I started learning about how bizarre and outdated some of our laws and policies are and experienced some of our nations ‘leaders’ in action that I realised that I had to stop looking to other older ‘wiser’ people and start using and applying my own brain.

That realisation sparked me to start a charitable organisation called Working Waters Trust which works with farmers and communities on habitat restoration and education projects for our most endangered native fish which operates fantastic education and restoration projects to this day. As the trust’s projects moved from being primarily based in Otago/Southland towards a Canterbury focus – I started to get more and more involved in the water governance part of things, which led me to decide to run for Environment Canterbury.”

  • Lan Co-Chairs the Local Government NZ Young Elected Members Committee (a network of all elected members in NZ aged 40 or under which make up less than 6% of all elected members despite people under 40 making up 50% of the population).
  • She is a certified Resource Management Commissioner.
Lan Pham – The Common Good – Independent